Basalt Trophy Head

SKU PF.3607

500 AD to 1000 AD


10″ (25.4cm) high x 7.5″ (19.1cm) wide x 9″ (22.9cm) depth




Costa Rica

Gallery Location



This basalt stone head with an impressionable face carries an unusual ambience and weight. Although the head is depicted with simple incision lines, one cannot escape its poignant sense of presence and beauty, like that of a real human head. Estranged from the body, the stone head’s closed eyes and mouth create an esoteric mystery. The head is simple and elegant in form and essence. Its elongated nose beautifully accentuates the symmetry and bold incision lines represent the facial features. Moreover, the flat cap-like headdress is decorated with a horizontal bar-like material that perhaps is a symbolic object. Such beautiful basalt head is a symbol of human sacrificial ritual, which was a common practice in Ancient Costa Rica. During this period, people took the trophy heads in battles for sacrifice because they believed that such practice was necessary to maintain the agricultural fertility. Because of the strong belief in human sacrifice and pleasing the god, conquests and wars became their fight to obtain the perfect victims for the sacrifice. Mesoamericans believed in their humble position and their duty to offer the best for God’s mercy. Their prosperity depended upon human sacrifice and this trophy head well indicates the people’s desire for God’s benevolence.

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